Seven Business Intelligence Project Pitfalls

March 10, 2011

Business Intelligence Project Failures 300x199 photo (business intelligence)

Business Intelligence Project Failures 300x199 photo (business intelligence)

All enterprise-wide initiatives that introduce change are subject to stumbling blocks along the way, and business intelligence implementations are no different. From Booz & Co., here are seven potential risks or project pitfalls you may encounter when implementing a business intelligence solution, and some suggestions on how to avoid them before they happen. 

1. Lack of Sustained Leadership Support

 If you run the risk of losing leadership support during a lengthy implementation, you can take steps to prevent that from happening by securing different project champions for the various initiatives within the project. Build incentives at the beginning of a project for leadership to stay involved with the initiative. You will gain renewed leadership interest and support as you show progress with the value of your business intelligence implementation.

 2. Partner Failure

 Take steps ahead of time to help make sure you don’t stumble because one of your partners fails to deliver. Make sure you thoroughly evaluate the external partners you use and check references to confirm their reliability. Negotiate payment to partners contingent on successfully achieving milestones throughout the project.

 3. Project Delays or Scope Creep Causing Loss of Momentum

 Strong project management skills that define specific milestones and manage to modular releases will help with this potential pitfall. Clearly define the project scope and do not change it without reevaluating time and resource requirements.

 4. Development Halted To Accommodate System Changes

 Use a modular approach to development and implementation to prevent interruptions. Establish a schedule for future upgrades and enhancements considering future system changes that will need to be made.

 5. Security Breaches

 Develop a strong, centralized governance policy for the project which includes enhanced data control policies. Use role-based security tools in the implementation to avoid security breaches with the data.

 6. Unintended Consequences of Focusing On the Wrong Metrics

 When developing metrics, document the options and the decisions for how metrics are chosen. Consider potential secondary impacts of using the metrics you choose. Make metric selection an ongoing process that is regularly evaluated and changed as necessary.

 7. Organizational Resistance to Tracking and Acting on Metrics and Targets

 Visible executive support is key to avoiding this pitfall. Ensure that incentives at all levels are aligned with the way the business intelligence program is measuring success and that incentives reinforce the right behaviors needed to achieve goals. Transparency and information sharing are also keys to avoiding resistance.